May 16, 2020

Revolut takes crown as highest-valued fintech in the UK

Revolt
Banking
Fintech
UK
Amber Donovan-Stevens
2 min
Following Revolut’s latest funding round, its valuation has tripled to £4.2bn (US$5.5bn) making it the highest-valued fintech company in the UK.

Rev...

Following Revolut’s latest funding round, its valuation has tripled to £4.2bn (US$5.5bn) making it the highest-valued fintech company in the UK.

Revolut has more than tripled in its valuation following the fintech’s latest funding round, where it raised £387mn (US$500mn). This places the fintech company firmly in the lead of the race for challenger bank dominance in the UK.

The round was led by US fund Technology Crossover Ventures, with Airbnb, Netflix and Spotify accompanying. Before this fundraising round the challenger bank was worth £1.3bn (US$1.67bn) in Spring 2018. This new valuation places Revolut firmly ahead of Monzo wich remains valued at $2.5bn.

About Revolut

Revolut offers several digital banking services, including a prepaid debit card, currency exchange service, cryptocurrency exchange and peer-to-peer payments. Everything is controlled through the Revolut App – available for iOS and Android – which supports spending and ATM withdrawals in 120 currencies, as well as sending directly from the app in 29 currencies.

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One of Revolut’s biggest strengths is its refusal to charge fees on the majority of its services.

Simplicity and user experience are also key drivers for the company’s innovations. For example, accounts can be set up in a few minutes, budgeting and account management services are designed to be intuitive and easy to navigate, and there are a host of security-related options built in too.

Did you know? As of last week, open banking is now live for all UK Revolut customers.

For more information on all topics for FinTech, please take a look at the latest edition of FinTech magazine.

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Jun 17, 2021

Zafin: Banking is now in the era of the tech ecosystem

Zafin
Banking
Technology
Digital
3 min
FinTech Magazine holds a Q&A session with John Smith, EVP Ecosystem at Zafin, on the evolution of banking and its future as an aspect of tech ecosystems

The development of tech ecosystems is placing the future of post-COVID banking in jeopardy. At a time when Big Tech can replicate the functions of traditional financial institutions, what can banks do to retain a grip on the market?

John Smith, EVP Ecosystem at Zafin, has a few ideas. A SaaS cloud-native product and pricing platform for financial institutions, Zafin is preparing the next generation of banks to cope with this precise challenge.

Smith is responsible for the strategic and tactical management of the company’s ecosystem, including the creation of new business models to support growth and differentiation. We asked him four questions:  

Q. Have the events of the pandemic caused an irreversible shift in the digitalisation of banks? If so, is COVID the sole cause or are there other factors?

It’s a great question and one that I am asked a lot. Without a doubt, the COVID-19 pandemic has driven a significant shift in the acceleration of digital. In fact, I’ve seen some estimates show there to have been as much as four to six years of digital adoption growth since the initial lockdown started. 

While the pandemic may be the primary reason for this growth, two other drivers include fintech disruption and the high costs of operating a traditional retail bank. Both of these factors have caught the attention of banking executives as they set their minds on accelerating digital transformation with a focus on high return, low risk. 

Q. Some commentators believe banks must learn from Big Tech in order to survive. Do you agree? Please expand. 

I agree completely; we’re living in the era of the ‘ecosystem’. All the seismic shifts we’re seeing in technology, be it aggregation, embedded finance, DeFi or hyper-personalisation are all enabled by the foundation of an ecosystem.  

When financial institutions work with a strategic partner like Zafin, which has made the strategic investments in a best-in-class ecosystem, they’re able to capitalise on opportunities more quickly and safely, and will be better positioned for growth now and at the other side of the pandemic. 

Q. What are currently the obstacles to adopting Open Banking? Is it more likely to 'take off' in some regions rather than others?

I would argue that Open Banking has been in the US for some time and will only continue to grow there. By definition, Open Banking is about the secure sharing of financial information that customers are aware of and have authorised. Under that definition, we’re seeing aspects of this well underway even though its full potential remains to be seen.

Third-Party Providers are a natural outcome of Open Banking, whereby they can create propositions beyond what a bank normally does to enable banking functions such as payments, borrowing, saving and so on. Once again, some of these are already present through industry-led initiatives, whereas regions such as the EU have taken the pathway of regulation such as PSD2.  

The industry-led initiatives we’ve seen in the US have also had the added advantage of guard-rails that regulatory bodies like FFIEC and CFPB provide. There are also other technology-led initiatives such as API definitions that are set out through the FS-ISAC. 

I would argue the future of Open Banking in North America will be through the natural evolution of the guidelines and API definitions that have been published, as well as the natural progression of industry initiatives. 

Q. Are there any other bank tech trends you'd like to discuss? 

Coreless banking. Zafin has been pioneering some of the work around externalising functions out of the legacy core to drive a more ‘fintech nimble’ bank, while not having to deliver a ‘heart and lungs’ core bank replacement. 

Real life examples of this include moving some of the core functions of a banking system, such as product and pricing to a platform like Zafin. Origination, onboarding, KYC, risk, and compliance are all other examples of externalising banking functions for added agility.

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